By Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Cayson Terry learned just how sneaky Santa Claus can be.
The 9-year-old spent Christmas Eve on the pediatric floor of North Mississippi Medical Center. With nurses checking in and waking him up every so often, Cayson had a good chance of catching St. Nick in the act.
“No, sir,” he said, shaking his head.
The Jolly Ol’ Elf dropped off a giant stuffed polar bear named Gumbo, and left a Christmas card/get well note for Cayson.
“You have been a very good boy this year,” Santa wrote. “Thanks for being nice to your friends and family.”
Most of his family members were at home in Belden on Christmas Eve.
“Last night, my mom stayed with him, so we could be at home with the other three,” said Cayson’s mom, Amanda McCaulla, 29. “I’ve been here the other nights. We came back first thing this morning.”
That “first thing” was made a bit tougher thanks to Cayson’s 3-year-old brother, Tripp McCaulla, who didn’t go to sleep until after 1 a.m. Christmas Day.
“Cayson called me at 5 o’clock in the morning, saying Santa had come,” Amanda McCaulla said. “You promised me that you would wake me up, didn’t you?”
“Yes ma’am,” he said.
“He was so excited,” she said. “He said he had never gotten this much.”
Cayson’s road to Christmas in a hospital bed began on Thursday.
“He was throwing up,” said 4-year-old Allie McCaulla.
Cayson said his stomach and head were hurting.
“We came to the doctor, and they said that there was nothing wrong,” Cayson said.
Before Cayson could leave, the doctor did another check. The next thing he knew, Cayson had an IV drip in his arm that “only hurts when you do this,” he said, pulling on the tube.
The hardest part was a spinal tap procedure to rule out meningitis. His mom said the doctors know he has a colon infection, but they’re not sure what type.
“They’re still running tests,” she said.
The good news is Cayson appears to be on the mend, and he was excited about the prospect of eating hospital food for Christmas lunch.
“They haven’t been letting him eat solid food,” his mother explained.
In addition to Allie, Tripp and his mom, Cayson got a visit from his 11-year-old sister, Cassie Hollaway, and his dad, David McCaulla, 33.
Cayson’s goodies included pants, shirts and new cartridges for his Nintendo, as well as the game, “Operation,” which looked right at home in a hospital room.
He also received a wooden knife, camouflage clothes and a bow and arrow set.
“We’re going to shoot the bow at the polar bear,” David McCaulla said.
“We are not going to do that,” his wife said.
One of the best gifts for Cayson was to have some family time on Christmas morning. He was glad to share his bed with his mom and siblings.
“It’s just been me up here with him for the last few days,” Amanda McCaulla said. “He’s happy to see them.”
Cayson smiled and nodded his agreement, even though Tripp and Allie had to be warned away from the IV machine a couple of times.